This blog is the result of a conversation I had with my friend Shirley. She is sassy, feisty and a lady who knows cars.
When Shirley was 16 she wanted a car, but not just any car. She wanted her brother’s 56 Ford, her brother had a different idea. He wanted to sell her his four door Oldsmobile that he bought to restore and sell. Shirley on the other hand was having no part of that, she bugged him until he eventually sold her the 56 Ford.
Shirley would end up meeting her future husband racing the streets of Ohio. He had a 57 Pontiac and she had her 56 Ford. After she graduated from high school they decided to get married.
Together they decided to buy a 64 Pontiac GTO. Shirley enjoyed the car for a few years, but soon got bored with it’s stock performance. It was soon turned into a race-car with a built Chevy 454 installed into it.
Shirley’s cousin owned a drag strip in Thompson, Ohio, which was just a few miles from where they lived. They raced the GTO under the Hot Rod Class and it was a great past time for her and her husband. They would spend most Sundays at the drag strip the way other couples would spent time watching TV. Shirley loved the thrill of driving a race car and not many women or men could drive like she could.
It wasn’t long into her racing career that the NHRA decided that women had to be tested and licensed to race while men could continue to race and didn’t have to be tested and licensed. She was not willing to go along with unfair practices, so she quit racing. Why did the ladies have different rules than the men she thought to herself? Her husband wanted to give racing a try but let’s just say he wasn’t a very good driver. He ended up blowing the motor in the GTO and all the money that had invested into the racecar was a bust. It was truly a sad day for Shirley and her love for racing had to be put on the back burner.
Although Shirley’s racing career had to be put on hold, she never gave up her love of speed. Her next car was a Plymouth Road Runner and it was a real show stopper. Not only did the car sound mean, it was also fast. She enjoyed racing the Road Runner around town and one day she got on it while making a left turn in front of her what appeared to be some old fogies putting along in a nondescript car. It didn’t take long for Shirley to realize that what she thought was old fogies were actually undercover cops. Needless to say the judge was not very happy with her antics and the only way she was able to keep here license was by telling the judge she would be leaving Ohio for California. The judge told her to get out of Ohio and if she were caught in town again she would lose her license.
Shirley owned many cars in the years to come and to this day she still attends local car shows.